Squidpay boss told to settle P554M after botched takeover deal
Listed Premiere Horizon Alliance Corp. (PHA) scuttled a P560-million deal to buy entrepreneur Marvin dela Cruz’s SquidPay Technology Inc., thus abandoning an ambitious mobile wallet pivot while assailing the financial technology startup’s “inability to operate a viable business.”
At the same time, the PHA board said it would enforce an Oct. 29, 2020 deal to sell control of the investment holding firm to Dela Cruz’s group, which had only made a partial payment for the shares it originally agreed to buy, a stock exchange filing on Friday showed.
The SquidPay deal would have covered part of the payment for the PHA shares, but since the acquisition was withdrawn, the board said the remaining amount should be paid in cash.
Dela Cruz’s group earlier agreed to acquire 2.8 billion shares of PHA, equivalent to a 55-percent stake, at P0.33 per share or a total of P925 million. Dela Cruz owned 24.35 percent of PHA as of end of June this year.
His group earlier paid P317.14 million to acquire 1.12 billion PHA shares, leaving unsettled the remaining balance of 1.68 billion shares worth P553.86 million.
“Since PHA will no longer be acquiring [SquidPay], the investor group will be required to pay the remaining balance in cash,” PHA said.
PHA’s board formally approved the acquisition of 33 percent of SquidPay in November last year.
This was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a surge in demand for e-wallets.
PHA also revealed it had sought to renegotiate the valuation of SquidPay.
“PHA has noted that [SquidPay] has not been able to execute on its planned projects nor obtain its objectives,” PHA said.
Prospects over the SquidPay investment contributed to a more than 800-percent surge in PHA’s share price to P3.45 apiece in early 2021. PHA shares ended at P0.27 per share on Friday, up 1.89 percent.
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